The Amazons

By Adrienne Mayor,

Book cover of The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women Across the Ancient World

Book description

Amazons--fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world--were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles displayed their valor in duels with Amazon queens, and the Athenians reveled in their victory over a powerful Amazon army. In historical times, Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great,…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Amazons as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In this fascinating book, which combines flowing prose, a lively and engaging presentation, and wonderful illustrations, Adrienne Mayor brings the reader into the excitement of discovering the historical truth about the mysterious Amazons of Greek mythology. 

Mayor demonstrates that the Amazon traditions derive from the undeniable fact that nomadic, armed horsewomen existed on the fringes of the ancient Greek world. The author, who describes herself as a classical folklorist, is the first to examine the intriguing evidence systematically and in detail.

From William's list on classical mythology and folklore.

Rather than instantly dismissing the Amazons as fiction, Adrienne Mayor crosses the ancient world from the Mediterranean to the Far East and engages with a vast amount of literary, documentary, archaeological, and archaeological evidence in search of their real life counterparts.

She proves that warrior women did exist in a variety of forms across diverse ancient cultures, and offers an alternative type of influential ancient woman to the empresses, queens, and saints that we’re more familiar with. This book inspired the depiction of the Amazons in Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984.

Adrienne Mayor's The Amazons is a breathtaking exploration of women warriors of the ancient world.  Working with myth, ancient historical sources, and modern archeological finds, Mayor draws links between story and history, making a strong argument for the nomadic armed horsewomen of the ancient steppes as a model for the Amazons of myth. She ends the book with a quick look at ancient women warriors across the Eurasian steppes from the Caucasus, through Central Asia, and into China. The Amazons is both scholarly and readable—not as easy to pull off as you might think.

From Pamela's list on women in war.

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